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Back with a bite: Hamburg will host spring progressive dinner around the village

A bite sample at the Comfort Zone Café during the 2013 fall Hamburg Bites Progressive Dinner.

HAMBURG — It is dinner time. “Where do you want to eat?” “This place, or that one?” “Never been.” “What’s good there?” “I’m hungry, let’s just pick a place.”

That decision-making struggle when choosing a restaurant dissipates during the semi-annual Hamburg Bites Progressive Dinner, which will take place on Tuesday, June 10, out and about in the village of Hamburg.

An event to sample all there is to offer, a progressive dinner is structured to encourage expanding palettes and new-found patronizing.

Sponsored by the Hamburg Village Business Advisory Council, the Hamburg Bites, in its sixth occurance, was started by the proprietors of two local food establishments: Main Street Ice Cream and Comfort Zone Café.

Denise Fenton, of that ice cream shop, and Comfort Zone’s Cindy Barrett teamed up at a VBAC gathering.

“I came up with the idea at a VBAC meeting, and Cindy [Barrett] said she would be willing to help,” Fenton said.

“We talked to some of the other restaurants to see if they’d be interested in getting involved with this,” Barrett said, in regard to the initial progressive dinner, which took place in the fall of 2011.

“I guess inspiration was to help out local businesses, to have people try restaurants that they never have tried before, and get them into the village.”

Ticket holders will receive five vouchers: an appetizer, two entrees, dessert and a drink.

However, these are not vouchers for normal sized meals. Portions will be a size big and small enough to sample the various items, hence the term “bite.”

Participating locations include August Bistro & Bar, Buffalo Street Grill, Comfort Zone Café, Mammoser’s Tavern, Coyote Café, Mason’s Grille 52, Tina’s Italian Kitchen, Main Street Ice Cream, Village Sweet Shoppe, Ten Thousand Vines, Mary Claire’s, and new to this event, Bistro in the Square.

A wider variety of food will also be available at this year’s progressive dinner.

“We have really tried asking the restaurants to give lighter and healthier options,” Barrett said.

Vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available at nearly all of the restaurants; so that a larger span of people may enjoy the event “even if they have dietary needs,” according to Barrett.

All of the establishments are within walking distance of each other. According to Fenton, Hamburg Bites is orchestrated “to promote local businesses, and to try to get people walking the village.”

She added that “quite a few” nonresidents attended last year’s progressive dinner, including a large group of women from Eden who took advantage of the evening for a “ladies night out.”

Barrett said, “The people who have come in the past bring more people. They look forward to when the next one comes out.”

Hamburg Bites will run from 5-9:30 p.m. and the use of the vouchers will be completely up to the ticket holder.

“They don’t have to follow a format. They can do whatever they want,” Barrett said.

Perhaps use the drink voucher for pre-dinner fun or maybe a nightcap at Ten Thousand Vines, or use it for a beverage while simultaneously using your entree voucher. Have dessert first, in the middle of the evening, or last.

Since people are encouraged to move freely at their pace, Barrett said that “it seems that it flows pretty well ... usually they can go in and out [of the venues] pretty quick,” with hardly any foot-traffic jams.

The voucher pamphlet will be available to pre-purchase at each venue that is involved in this year’s Hamburg Bites.

Barrett noted that, “All of the menu [items] are in the ticket books, so they can go through their booklet ahead of time,” to get an idea of where to go throughout the course of the event.

Main Street Ice Cream is located at 35 Main St. in Hamburg and can be reached at 649-2970.

Comfort Zone Café is located at 17 Main St. in Hamburg and can be reached at 648-5779.

For more information about Hamburg Bites, visit www.facebook.com/HamburgBites.
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2014-06-06 | 09:34:39
Progressive Dinner
Well donor Cindy Barrett and Denise Fenton, and Hamburg Bites! Progressive Dinners can be as much fun as you can get. Over here in the UK we call these 'Progressive Suppers', and they can also be hosted in private homes, with cooks vying with each other to create the best courses.  Some of the best evenings of my life were passed in our baby sitting circle progressive dinners. The men alternated with the women in doing the organisation... and the cooking! It inspired me to write a comic novel, "Just Desserts" (see Amazon, Kindle), which has as its background the organisation and holding of a progressive dinner.  Two doctors are involved in the story, Michael Tremayne and Martin Packman, who are rivals at the local hospital. They are also rivals for Michael’s wife Nancy. Michael’s dedication to his patients is leaving the field free for his far less dedicated, but undeniably attractive colleague to wheedle his way into Nancy's affections. Michael had managed to woo his wife in a romantic love affair, but that's now three children in the past, and romance doesn't feature much for them these days. The two medics lock horns in a small group organising the dinner. The Louse finds a way of sabotaging not only who progresses where, but also Michael's cooking. Michael has to indulge his darker side.  The supper comes to a dramatic conclusion. Who finally ends up with Nancy? I'm not suggesting that every progressive dinner sparks the events of the story, but have a great time on June 10th!
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